Media report one of Abramovich’s “inner circle” buys another club; Vincent Tann doing the same.

By Walter Broeckx

Today the news came out in Belgium that Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz has been saved and bought by a foreign owner.

This club is the more or less follow up team of Royal Excelsior Mouscron a team that has gone bankrupt in 2010 and that was playing in the top division in Belgium at the time.  Clubs going bankrupt even top division clubs in Belgium is no big deal one could say.  Mouscron-Péruwelz is a city that now belongs to the French speaking part of Belgium after being a Flemish city in the past.

Now there is a thing about the buyers that is of interest even for an Arsenal blog. Because the buyers are a Maltese group. But that is just a smoke screen the media report in Belgium for a certain Pini Zahavi and… Chelsea.  Zahavi  is an important player manager who works with a lot of teams in the PL but on top of that he is one of the inner circle of Roman Abramovich.

Now they haven’t directly intervened with the negotiations but used “straw man” like Jean-Luc Gripond (former president of Nantes) and Teny Yerima (a player manager from Cameroon).

That is at least what the media are reporting in Belgium.

The reasons they did this is because Chelsea would like to put some of their youthful talents at Mouscron-Péruwelz as a good way of keeping them happy (by playing in the top division of a country) and to see how they develop in such circumstances.

One could say that in that way Chelsea could move one step further in buying more players and loaning them out together and let them develop together.  So it could be a win-win situation for both clubs. Mouscron-Péruwelz could make their uncertain future a bit more certain as they were running out of cash, again… and Chelsea can have a cheap outside England training camp for their youngsters.

The new investors want to pay 8.5 million euro to buy 90 % of the shares. The current owners do have a bit of a safety net in this that if the investors don’t live up to their promises they have to pay that sum and give the shares back to the current owners. Again just following up on what the media in Belgium are saying.

Now what is also interesting is that this isn’t the only club in Belgium that has been bought by a foreign owner.  Big deal you might say as many clubs in the PL are bought by foreign owners and so in fact is Arsenal.

But only a few weeks ago KV Kortijk a club from Flanders has been bought by a person we also know in England… It was our friend from Cardiff ,Mr. Vincent Tann, who bought Kortrijk.  Mr. Tann who gathered a bit of his fortune with golfing, property, resorts and some gambling.

Mr. Tann bought the shares from the majority holders of KV Kortrijk for some 5 million euros.  What Mr. Tann is trying to do with Kortrijk is still a bit uncertain. There has been talk about a new stadium as the current 70 year old stadium is a bit run down.  Tann said however that he will not start throwing money around.

He said his experience at Cardiff has taught him a few things. So never to old too learn one could say.

But the thing is that I notice that more and more club owners seem to buy multiple teams and for the moment their reasons are not really clear. One could follow the reports in the media in Belgium and see how Chelsea is trying to get around a probable reduction in how many loan players a single club can have?

Or is this just a way of moving money around from left to right and back to the middle, from east to west and from south to north and then back the opposite way? So at the end of the day when an investigation has to be made about something nobody really knows where is what.  Or who owns what.

It is so sad that Adam Brogden is no longer with us as he would have loved to dig deeper in such matters.  The (money) forces behind football was what he liked to look at and his articles about third party ownership and ghost transfers  and other stuff that goes on in the underbelly of football that we don’t know off.  I think he would have come up with the why English football club owners are now also buying clubs in Belgium. Small clubs in fact but with little chance of worldwide exposure and chance to win things.

I bet before I spelled the names of these clubs the average football fan will not have heard about them before. So it can’t be to be very successful or to make a club go from the bottom of the Belgian league to become an all-conquering football club.

So that leaves the question: why put some of your money in to such clubs?  Just being a benefactor for the sake of it? Haven’t we always been told that to build an empire like they did you don’t just give away your money?

Or is it a way of going around the FFP rules or building a way out in order to shove the money around when needed. A bit like the Manchester City model with buying and founding clubs in every part of the world?

It somehow seems to me a model that is dangerous because if one day the rich owner calls it a day the end may come very quickly for such a club.

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44 Replies to “Media report one of Abramovich’s “inner circle” buys another club; Vincent Tann doing the same.”

  1. It was only a matter of time before the mega wealthy followed each others ways around FFP. Chelsea’s idea of having multiple loans has been widely noted, as has Man City’s game of a club in every continent.

    This is not going to end here…. there are many more “rescues” like this to come. The shape of football is changing rapidly, and the authorities are just light years behind

  2. So Chelsea will use Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz as their ‘junior’ club
    KV Kortrijk will use Cardiff as their ‘junior’ club.

    Very interesting!

  3. Tann is already an owner of the Bosnian club FK Sarajevo. Powered by his money, Sarajevo won the league title ahead of FK Željezničar (the one Arsenal played against in 1976) and will participate in this season’s Champions’ League.

  4. This is the way this world works. The one with the 1: biggest guns, 2: biggest bank balance, 3: best con, 4: biggest thug, 5: you get the idea…
    Basically the best crook usually wins even though most everyone else is convinced that laws and rules work.

  5. It would be incredible for the football authorities to allow it…but unfortunately I’m pretty sure they would.

    I was very doubtful Fifa would follow through with doing away with 3rd party ownership. Now, when it looks like they very well might, there seems to be more murkiness than ever behind the scenes.

    I heard somewhere last week, in connection with Inter i think, that the main 3rd party players are going to shift their activities and more or less become directly involved in buying players for particular clubs. It might have been that our old friends Doyen (Chambers, what are you doing!) are heavily involved with this Inter splurge.

    Wherever there is murkiness there is Mendes. This is a real pain for us as he has so many good players on his books and, as far as I can see, there is absolutely no prospect of us ever working with him.

    Imagine Miranda was a player Wenger hugely admired : I find it extremely unlikely he would have been able to buy him for double the fee he has just joined Inter for. There must have been dozens, if not hundreds, of players in the last decade where that has been the case.

    Oh well, thankfully there are still enough good players left about who are not involved with Mendes and crooks like him.

    I think it should be appreciated by all our fans what a huge obstacle Mendes, 3rd party stuff and similar chicanery have been for us in recent years, but of course many don’t. Many are busy today talking up the signing of Carvalho…represented by old Jorge himself

    Oh for that Wenger book! (though I’m sure he won’t do it because, in the end, he’ll decide it wouldn’t be good for Arsenal if he dishes the dirt on the football world)

  6. With the mess Greece is in now , I’m sure that quite a few owners must be eying their clubs as being ripe for takeover .
    The time is right for a ‘ League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ‘- persons who would not normally qualify nor pass the so called stringent rules of FIFA and the respective FAs. I not referring to the UK , as many strange men have been deemed to be fit and proper to be owners of clubs there.
    Just imagine this scenario – crooks and creeps running clubs and in competition with other similar shady and nefarious characters , with all their ill gotten gains .Each trying to fix games with corrupt refs.And it would be an international sleaze fest of epic proportions .
    You may think I’m crazy ( as usual !) , and this is too wild and would never come to pass .
    I’m closely watching the circling vultures , sorry ,I meant ‘investors’ !

  7. So this works out well for Chelsea and the likes. They can sign players and send them to Belgium, even seniors who they cant push out. They can loan them and make place for a signing in the 25 member squad..

  8. Great to see that Adam still gets remembered on UA.Long may his memory last!Thanks Walter.

  9. I do find it rather amusing that Tony and Walter continue to peddle this idea that City are buying clubs in other continents solely to get round FFP. It begs the question as to what would be the point in going to such lengths just to fudge FFP plus it may have escaped your attention but the NY Yankees also have a 20% share in New York City FC and Nissan have an 80% share in Yokohama F.Marinos so are those 2 behemoths in on this FFP fudge as well? Or maybe, just maybe, this is a new innovative way of building up a club’s global profile and others (including Arsenal) may follow suit in years to come. After all, I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that your majority shareholder Stan Kroenke already owns a football club in another country. Is that to fudge FFP as well?

  10. No it hasn’t M18ctid, Kroenke owned the Colorado Rapids since 2004. Long before he started to get involved in Arsenal and long before FFP laws were even talked about. So it couldn’t have anything to do with that.

  11. Walter, I thought you’d might have been switched on enough to know that that last comment was tongue in cheek. Anyway, the point I’m making is that City aren’t buying stakes in clubs situated in some of the world’s biggest cities just to get round FFP but if you and Tony want to believe that then by all means do. I said it on here some months back but what City are doing is effectively going for world domination and you can bookmark that comment in 5 years time when we’re posting the biggest turnover in world football and annual profits of £100 million-plus 😉

  12. M18CTID

    A decent enough guy but head in the sand doesn’t even begin to describe him.

  13. Jambug,

    Yeah, I agree – he might talk nonsense at times but I’m sure Walter is a nice enough bloke 😉

  14. M18CTID

    “I said it on here some months back but what City are doing is effectively going for world domination and you can bookmark that comment in 5 years time when we’re posting the biggest turnover in world football and annual profits of £100 million-plus ”

    City’s Net LOSS on transfers over the last 5 years.

    ’14/’15 Net Transfer loss = £60 Million

    ’13/’14 Net Transfer loss = £90 Million

    ’12/’13 Net Transfer loss = £14 Million

    ’11/’12 Net Transfer loss = £48 Million

    ’10/’11 Net Transfer loss = £116 Million

    Total Net Loss = £338 Million

    That was on top of £130 Million loss over the preceding 5 years.

    So it seems you’re not making that profit on transfers.

    Trophies over the last 5 years:

    PL x 2

    FAC x 1

    LC x 1

    CS x 1

    As we see you haven’t really set the World alight on that score because as you can see bellow you’ve only won 2 more PL’s than Arsenal. Okay the PL is a great achievement but financially it is just a piss in the ocean in real terms and not much more than we would of gleaned from our top 4 finishes, and like us, not a sniff of the CL, so this profit of which you speak is not from trophies is it.

    ARSENAL’s Net LOSS on transfers over the last 5 years.

    £95 Million

    Trophies over the last 5 years:

    FAC x 2

    CS x 1

    So please explain exactly where this annual profit of £100 Million of which you speak is coming from?

    Wouldn’t that a large part of it comes from sponsoring yourselves with hyper inflated deals would it?

  15. Jambug,

    You’re spectacularly missing the wider picture. Net profit/loss on transfers is totally different to profit and loss as a whole. You talk about people’s heads being in the sand and being delusional but have you actually bothered to do any proper research into City’s revenues or what’s going on at the club of late? If you did, then you’d see that they’re rising exponentially and will continue to do so. Believe it or not, a large part of it doesn’t come from “sponsoring” ourselves with hyper-inflated deals either. The Etihad deal, which I’ll add isn’t deemed to be a related party by UEFA, brings in about £35-£40 million a year. That represents a mere 24% of our commercial income in the last set of reported accounts and only 11.5% of our whole turnover. City are signing commercial deals all over the world on an almost weekly basis which never get reported in the media but can be found on the official website. We have a car battery partner in Indonesia, a coke partner in Thailand, and a football sticker album partner (!) in Luxembourg amongst other things. And of course, like all other clubs we actually bring in money through other sources such as TV money, prize money, and match-day income. Speaking of which, it might have escaped your notice but City have installed an extra 6000+ seats for next season which will bring in even more match-day revenue, particularly as we’ve vastly increased our capacity in the corporate hospitality areas. Not to mention the plans to increase the capacity by another 6000+ making ours the second biggest ground in the country in terms of overall capacity. And I’ve not even got on to the plans for the world-class leisure destination adjacent to the stadium – what exactly that will entail is anybody’s guess but imagine something that will attract people from all over the country and beyond and all the extra revenue that will bring into the club as a result. Really mate, what I said might sound like hyperbole but watch it unfold over the next few years and let’s see who’s the delusional one then.

    You’re a clever person Jambug – no offence to Tony and Walter but at least you back your points up with researched facts but you’ve just taken one small factor into your post above instead of looking at the whole picture. I think you’re partly falling into the trap that other fans have and thinking that City are at 2009 levels in terms of income but we’re actually a lot further on than that.

  16. An analogy if I may.

    In 2008 the Abu Dhabi United Group buy a run down house in Manchester.

    Between 2008 and now they spend nigh on a Billion quid acquiring top quality staff, as well as up grading the surrounding area for a few hundred Million more.

    They spend a lot more money (I confess to not having a clue for this figure but I would suggest we are talking more 100’s of Millions) acquiring other run down properties around the World.

    After this 7 years of non stop investment the return on this astronomical outlay has been 2 PL’s, 1 FAC, and a LC.

    Now that all this money has been invested it is time to start raking in the money, which is fine.

    Except to call it profit is stretching it a bit isn’t it?

    That is, unless of course you can just ignore the BILLIONS plus outlay you made in the first place.

    Ahh, if only my World worked like that.

  17. Man City Inc.

    Sounds like what is happening at City has very little to do with football.

    Abu Dhabi Group (ADG), is a set of companies that was founded in 1993 in Iraq; serving a wide and growing range of businesses in the fields of Communications, Oil & Gas, Construction, Technical Services, Supply & General Trading.

    “We manage and operate our work from different locations around the globe including Iraq, Jordan, UAE, Russia and Canada; employing around 100 people.”

    Do you really think that being just one small part of a global business conglomerate is something to be proud of?

    Is this really what football has come to, just to win a few Trophies.

    Al-Breamy Co. for Wired and Wireless Communications/Iraq
    •Abu Dhabi Co. for Commercial Agencies/Iraq
    •Al-Baz Co. for Telecommunication Services/Iraq
    •Abu Dhabi Co. for Geophysical Services /Iraq
    •International Business Link L.L.C./UAE
    •Aphrodite Trading Co. /Jordan
    •Abu Dhabi Co. for Communication Materials Trading Ltd/Jordan
    •Al-Anbar Co. for Oil & Mineral Services/Iraq
    •Madar System Co. for Technical, Installation, Operating Services & General Trading LTD/Iraq
    •Eurowall Co. for Pre Fabricated Buildings and Constructions/Iraq

    Just put Man City on the end of the list.

    If it makes you happy so be it.

  18. But then you have to ask yourself what that house would be worth now if it was sold as a going concern – would you not agree that it would be worth a lot more than what was initially paid for it? You missed this elephant in the room the other week when Mike T explained exactly the same thing about what Chelsea was worth in 2003 when Abramovich acquired them, and what they would be worth now if he was to sell the club. Whether he would get back every penny I’m not sure but he wouldn’t be far off it I reckon. One of the world’s most famous clubs situated on some of the most expensive land in the world, let alone London, would fetch a decent amount of wonga for sure. I know you can’t stand them (I’m not overly keen on them, not least because I think some Chelsea fans are the biggest hypocrites of the lot regarding FFP although Mike T is alright) but they’re a big club now. I’ll concede that City aren’t at that stage yet and we don’t have London weighting in our favour either but we’re getting closer to that level all the time. As an aside, don’t bet against West Ham being the next club in line for a big-money takeover with their impending move to the OS looming.

    The reason why your world (and mine) doesn’t work like that is that neither of us has the finances to invest such huge sums of money into football clubs or businesses in order for them to grow but plenty of people do – heavy initial investment leading to success and self-sufficiency further down the line.

  19. Jambug,

    That’s a different company altogether mate! They only employ 100 people worldwide lol. Funnily enough I actually work in oil and gas and we deal with some companies in the UAE but I’ve never heard of them!

  20. Wow ! Oil & Gas? lots of gas with occasional oil. The City business plan is based on investment of easy gotten gains from oil. The sporting involvement is partly because of the huge advertising platform for product. There is no passion for the game. The international investment is there because it is currently open. When a left wing government decides to nationalise / de-privatise sporting entities there will be some interesting change. Just to ease your thinking, try counting how many freely outsider owned companies exist in the ‘homes’ of the ‘foreign owners’.

    It is the biggest one sided bent on freedom of enterprise. Democratic UAE?

  21. Jambug, has used The Swiss Ramble?

    Manchester City FC Financial Report 2012/2013, is far more reliable!

    2008/2009, Transfers In £138 millions, Transfers out £15 Millions.

    2009/2010, Transfers In £145 millions, Transfers out £13 millions.

    2010/2011, Transfers in £165 millions, Transfers out £24 millions.

    2011/2012, Transfers in £90 millions, Transfers out £21 millions.

    2012/2013, Transfers in £72 millions, Transfers out £39 millions.

    A more reliable source.

  22. I’m just a simple straight talking sensible man who is gonna put this whole profit and loss bullshit in plain terms. Just say Bill is walking down the streets of Manhattan and a hundred dollar bill falls from his wallet and is lost. The following week Bill is walking down the same streets and finds a five dollar bill on the sidewalk, In Bill’s mind he ain;t five dollars better off, Bill says he is ninety five dollars in the hole. Plain and simple, No twisted fucking bullshit. Any decent accountant can cook the books so to speak. Look what happened over here with Enron. M18CTID and Mike T. can talk all the fucking bullshit they want to about profit and loss, That is all it is. TWISTED BULLSHIT. Just because I can put my boots in the oven that don’t make them biscuits.

  23. In addition to possible FFP ramifications I am reminded of some Untold articles from way back when we were talking about unsavoury individuals latching onto football ownership and the potential this gave them for money laundering.

  24. Evening Bill,

    I do like you and I like the cut of your jib – personally I reckon your bark is far worse than your bite but seriously, that was a p*ss poor analogy mate 😉

  25. M18CTID. Please enlighten me. If you buy a house for one million dollars and spend one million dollars making said house livable, That is a total outlay of two million dollars. Are you in agreement with me so far, You then sell that house for a half of a million dollars. In my mind that is a loss of one and a half million dollars. I can’t see it any other way. In my brain for your club to be profitable your owner would have to get all the money he spent in buying the club and all the money he spent in improving the club back in his pocket. At that point he can start talking about making a profit. Until your club can be self-sustaining and stand on it’s own two feet without the help of your sugar daddy, You can’t talk about being in the black. Plain and simple. That is the way most businesses are run today who don’t have petro-dollars propping them up. Maybe your club has a plan to make a profit down the road, This I don’t know. Are you gonna seriously say that is gonna happen in the near future. Maybe it will, Maybe it won’t. Until that comes to fruition then its just hot air. By the way, You seem like a decent sort of person. just a little ostrich- like, Ha Ha Ha !!!

  26. Bill,

    Have you actually bothered reading any of my posts on this thread where I’ve explained in detail how City’s revenues are rising exponentially and are likely to continue doing so as a result of all the other extra revenue streams that will come online in the next few years, the first of which being the extra revenue we gain from having an increased capacity next season, or have you ignored all that because it doesn’t suit your narrative lol? Far from being an ostrich, I like to avail myself with a few facts before jumping into a discussion about a subject I otherwise know nothing about. If anyone’s an ostrich, it’s yourself mate as you’re completely ignoring anything I say and appearing to rely solely on what the likes of Tony and Walter say. As someone said the other week on another forum, Tony also runs a copywriting business but going off some of the guff he spouts he wouldn’t trust Tony to write his friggin’ grocery list! You really should get out more mate – you might actually learn something 😉 Enjoy the rest of your summer and I’ll be back to do battle again next season!

  27. Notoverthehill

    Firstly, I have not used the Swiss ramble.

    Secondly your stats show an even bigger loss. Nearly £500 Million to be precise.

    For the transfer statistics I used:


    As for the ‘ADG’ My apologies if my ‘research’ lead me in the wrong direction.

    Man City was purchased by the ‘Abu Dhabi United Group’ in 2008 and not ‘The Abu Dhabi Group’

    Anyway, sorry for the faux Pas.

    This is the profile of the “ADUG”

    “The Abu Dhabi United Group is part of the oil rich state’s sovereign wealth fund ADIA which manages £500billion of assets and is the world’s second biggest institutional investor, behind the Bank of Japan, according to the Oxford Business Group.”

    “They only employ 100 people worldwide lol.”

    Read this line:

    “…the world’s second biggest institutional investor, behind the Bank of Japan,”

    Blimey, doing well aren’t they, that sounds like a hundred very rich people to me. 🙂

    “The reason why your world (and mine) doesn’t work like that is that neither of us has the finances to invest such huge sums of money into football clubs or businesses in order for them to grow but plenty of people do – heavy initial investment leading to success and self-sufficiency further down the line”

    Brand Values 2015

    1 Manchester United…….1,206 AAA

    2 Bayern Munich………..933 AAA

    3 Real Madrid………….873 AAA+

    4 Manchester City………800 AAA-

    5 Chelsea……………..795 AAA

    6 FC Barcelona…………773 AAA+

    7 Arsenal……………..703 AAA

    So all those BILLIONS invested and still the Man City brand is only valued at 100 Million Dollars more than Arsenal, who are, as we all know, just a bunch of tight fisted old fuddy duddies.

    I don’t know why I bother because no matter what is said, Man City haven’t lost £500 Million on transfers. £300 Million hasn’t been written off by the Mansours.

    And Man City, despite what I may think and being the world’s second biggest institutional investor, behind the Bank of Japan, are actually just a local community charity set up solely for the benefit of the poor folks of Manchester.

    Whatever, you are welcome to it because as far as I’m concerned it stinks and no amount creative accountancy will convince me otherwise.

  28. Jambug,

    You misunderstood – the company that you linked to only employ 100 people worldwide, not ADUG themselves. Anyway, in future when you’re using Google make sure you click on the right link. And there was me praising you for your research yesterday. Tut tut 😉

    All these billions you speak of, actually it’s £1.2 billion and I never said he’d get back every penny if he sold the club today but your table of brand values tells it’s own story – ours is bigger than all but 3 clubs in the world. Think what that brand value will be in 5 years time….

    As for “it stinks” – what exactly stinks about it? Are you just miffed that he’s spent a lot of money on our club and there’s nothing you can do about it? Or is there an underlying feeling that there is something very dodgy going on? Perhaps that should be an idea for that Untold banner. How about: “Your Arab owner is dodgy but our Arab sponsor isn’t”? After all, if you’re going to cast aspersions about someone from that part of the world, you’re surely implying that the main sponsors of your football club aren’t particularly clean either.

  29. M18CTID

    In deed you did and normally I am ok. Not by any means perfect, as you have seen, but at least I try rather than just ranting.

    ‘It stinks’

    Look I don’t like what Chelsea, City or any of the ‘Oil’ rich Clubs have done.

    It is hard to explain but I will try.

    You can dress it up as much as you want but Manchester City are NOT a successful football Club. They, as a footballing entity, have achieved nothing.

    On the other hand the ADUG sound like they are a very successful ‘Investment Company’. They acquire assets that they see as having potential for investment and growth. In that endeavour they have Billions of pounds they are ready, willing, and able to invest, when and where they like.

    They saw Manchester City as a prime opportunity for investment and growth.

    They have used there Billions to acquire City and have hence forth invested heavily in that asset.

    Not with money generated by that asset you understand, because basically the asset was on it’s arse. It had done nothing for years. It had been badly run and was in a perpetual cycle of failure and disappointment. It had absolutely zero chance of changing that without EXTERNAL investment. Not just investment, but investment on a scale never witnessed before.

    Now with there enormous wealth the ADUG where in a position to asset strip there direct rivals, pay over the odds to secure anything or anyone they wanted and to then overpay those individuals once acquired.

    Okay, this is the big bad World of financial investment, and it sounds like the ADUG do it very well.

    And now Manchester City are just one aspect of the ADUG’s World wide port folio.

    So to my mind, whatever Manchester City, the football team achieve is tainted. It is tainted because, whom ever the ADUG had decided to add to it’s port folio, would eventually be successful and profitable.

    They could of chosen THE worst run football Club in the land, rather than just one of the worst, and given enough time and money, could turn it into a profitable enterprise.

    It’s like Tesco buying the little struggling local shop in the town, putting all it’s financial might behind it and then bragging when it becomes the biggest, most profitable shop in town.

    Great, well done, but hardly something to brag about is it. Given the finances, more an inevitably than an achievement don’t you think?

    So ‘it stinks’ might not be an appropriate description, but until I can think of anything else, it will have to do.

  30. I’m going to expand on the ‘little corner shop’ analogy, because I think it works well to explain why I feel like I feel, if nothing else.

    I see no achievement what so ever in the Little corner shop being taken over by one of the big boys and turning it around.

    Of course they will with all there money, they can nick the best managers around. Nick the best staff. Pay the best wages and pay over the odds to secure the best products.

    Okay a big out lay at first but relatively easy to achieve given the finances, and once established the debts can be re paid.

    Well done, but as I say, not really an achievement, more an inevitability.

    On the other hand if the son suddenly took over the business and turned it round but scouting for the lads or lasses with the best potential for management. And they in turn found the best boys and girls for staff and trained them well. And he himself learnt to strike good deals with the suppliers. And he grew the profits. And he invested wisely, in better managers and better staff. And then he expanded the shop and double the profits. And then some mates though they’d invest a bit of money in this up and coming business and before you know, after years of hard work, shrewd management, clever investment, well timed expansion and controlled investment, hay presto we have something to be proud of.

    That’s the difference.

    One is an achievement.

    One is an achievement to be proud of.

  31. Jambug,

    Ok, I’m a bit clearer in my mind now of how you feel about it all. That’s your opinion and that’s fair enough but this business of taking over ailing clubs and ploughing lots of money isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. You could go back over a century and you’ll see it was being done back then too. Look at our neighbours – are you aware that they were completely and utterly on their arse at the turn of the 20th century, had never finished higher than bottom of the top flight, and were relying on handouts from various sources to survive, ironically one of those that made a donation was none other than Manchester City Football Club. Then along came a rich man called John Henry Davies with no previous links to them, bought the club, bought better players from other clubs – may of them from MCFC – and lo and behold they went on and won the league title and FA Cup. Then he ploughed even more money in and funded the building of a much bigger ground (Old Trafford to me and you – personally I prefer the original Old Trafford, the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club). Then some years later they were on their arse again, on the verge of falling into division 3 and playing in front of crowds of less than 4000 and teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, yet along came ANOTHER sugar-daddy owner in the form of James Gibson to plough a load more money into the club. And this time they got it right because they appointed Busby as manager and the rest is history but don’t tell me that would’ve happened if they hadn’t been the beneficiary of the money that was given to them by not one, but two rich benefactors.

    And let’s look a bit closer to home shall we? Would you care to explain exactly what state Woolwich Arsenal were in when the rather wealthy Henry Norris pitched up? You were in a worse state than City pre-ADUG, a much worse state. And then what did he do? Oh, that’s right – bought the best manager in the country from the best team in the country along with some of their best players and suddenly Arsenal started winning trophies, their first coming 26 years after City’s first trophy.

    I’m sorry to say it mate but Sheikh Mansour is effectively just a modern-day John Henry Davies/James Gibson/Henry Norris.

    ” In 1910, Norris became the majority shareholder of the ailing Woolwich Arsenal (after the club had gone into voluntary liquidation) while still retaining his post on the Fulham board, and became club chairman two years later. With Arsenal’s low attendances and poor financial performance, Norris tried to create a London superclub by merging the two clubs, but this was blocked by the Football League.[6] Undeterred, he turned his attention to moving Arsenal to a new stadium; he eventually settled on a site in Highbury, north London, on the site of the recreation ground of St John’s College of Divinity; his close relationship with Randall Davidson helped, and the archbishop personally signed the ground’s title deed.[7] The Arsenal Stadium opened in 1913, and the club dropped the Woolwich from its name the following year.

    Norris’s most infamous contribution to Arsenal’s history was his role in the club’s promotion from the Second Division to the First in 1919. Arsenal were elected to the top flight in spite of only finishing fifth the previous season (1914-15, as competition had been suspended for most of World War I). This promotion came at the expense of other clubs, most notably Arsenal’s arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur. It has been alleged that Norris bribed or in some way unduly influenced the voting members of the Football League, in particular the league chairman and owner of Liverpool, John McKenna;[8][9] at the League’s AGM, McKenna made a speech recommending Arsenal’s promotion ahead of Spurs thanks to the former’s longer spell in the League (Arsenal joined in 1893, Spurs in 1908. Although Preston North End & Wolves, who both finished ahead of Arsenal, had been members of the league longer than Arsenal, Wolves since its inception in 1888.[8] Although no firm proof has ever been offered, Norris’s other activities, including the scandal that led to his downfall, are often cited as circumstantial evidence. Some claim that Norris ‘bribed’ McKenna, although this is pure speculation. Probably more likely is that he lobbied McKenna, who fearful of Norris exposing the corruption in the league at the time (Utd and Liverpool were accused of fixing the last game of the season) yielded to Norris’s request to promote Arsenal to Division 1 based on their longer spell in the league and their professional status.[9]

    Norris made one other lasting contribution to Arsenal’s history. In 1925, after acrimoniously firing manager Leslie Knighton, Norris hired Huddersfield Town’s Herbert Chapman as his replacement. After Norris’s departure, Chapman fulfilled the chairman’s ambition and turned Arsenal into the dominant side in English football in the 1930s, although later Norris cited Knighton’s sacking as the only decision he ever regretted.[10]

    However, Norris was not in charge by the time Arsenal had come to dominate English football. In 1927, the Daily Mail reported that Norris had made under-the-counter payments to Sunderland’s Charlie Buchan as an incentive for him to join Arsenal in 1925;[11] this was in an era of the League’s maximum wage, and any additional financial incentives to players were strictly outlawed, although many clubs at the time broke the rules.[11] A subsequent investigation by the Football Association found that Norris had also used Arsenal’s expense accounts for personal use to pay for his chauffeur,[2] and had pocketed the proceeds of £125 from the sale of the team bus.[11] Norris sued the Daily Mail and the FA for libel, but in February 1929, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Hewart, found in favour of the FA, and they subsequently banned Norris for life from football.[12]”

  32. Ok so in 1910 we was on our arse and bought everything.

    It was inevitable we would win things. No achievement there then.

    (Although, if I recall similar claims have been made before that have been refuted by Untold as fanciful, but I bow to your claims, for now 😉 )

    I just wish your lot would do the same, instead of trying to claim it’s some kind of miracle that the rest of us should all sit back and admire.

    If your next post says.

    ‘Yep, I agree, my mum could manage City and win the Premier league’ then I’ll shut up.

    Whilst city fans (and the media) still try to claim it’s an ‘achievement’ to spend a small Nations \national budget on winning a couple of titles, then I will shut up, but until then…..

  33. Jambug I feel like having as massive rant saying exactly what has been said by M18CITD has said and more but he will make the have made and will make the same points as me but better. One I think City fans know we got lucky look at the banner for the sheik at the ground. I think they even accept that what we are doing is less of an achievement than what other clubs have done. However much money you have you still have to get the right people and do the right thing business with money fail all the time wain or at least fail to do as well as expected. True perhaps not many with the money city have but still. Finally I would say we are doing things that other clubs are not doing even the successful rich ones these things should be praised. They are not so your suggestions about the media are laughable City feel hard done by though are academy is finally being showed even on articles where its not really need. But this is after false stories in the Sun hate for our spending along with lies and exagerations laughing at cook constant stories of fights and instability Slander at us regarding FP although support for that is going in revers now rightfully so thought the slander seem to remain with Ogdon Custis and others the slander lies and support for FFP remains strong amongst you silly biased lot

  34. Jambug,

    I fully acknowledge that we won the lottery and believe me, there isn’t a City fan that thinks otherwise. The point I was making was that other clubs have won the lottery in the past – twice in United’s case! – and that has enabled those clubs to go on to better things. One club I didn’t mention was Liverpool. They were struggling in the 2nd division in the late 50’s then along came the Moores family to bankroll them to success. Shankly, as great a manager as he was, is on record as saying he couldn’t have achieved what he did at Liverpool without the financial backing he got from the Moores family.

    There’s a general rule of thumb that the clubs who spend the most money tend to be the most successful. However, there will always be anomalies. Sunderland were known as the Bank Of England club back in the 50’s but ended up getting relegated. United spent more than any other club in England during the 1980’s yet only had 2 FA Cups to show for it. Liverpool, Everton, and Spurs won more trophies in that decade while spending less. Arsenal, Forest, and Villa won as many trophies while spending less. So United under-achieved massively in relation to the amount of money they spent. In other words, Will is correct – it’s one thing having the money but you still have to make the right choices with it to make it a success. If Mark Hughes was still manager of City would we have won as much as we have under this current ownership? Personally, I don’t think we would. So no, my mum couldn’t have won the league managing City but yes, we won the lottery. I’d never expect you to sit back and admire it but a bit of acknowledgement that there may be some double standards in your thinking with regards to Arsenal benefitting from a rich benefactor in the past wouldn’t go amiss 😉 Speaking of which, I find it rather amusing that Wenger coined the phrase “financial doping” when he himself managed a financially doped club in Monaco for 7 years, benefitting from the bankrolling of the club by the royal family there, long before Abramovich and Mansour pitched up at Chelsea and City respectively.

  35. I would like to turn directly to the buying other clubs which this is all about and having the ability to make the right choices which is easier with money but is not always possible.

    There is the family that own Udinase that do this now your saying there is Tan I was not aware of this he. The article if I can all it that suggest that Abramovich might be behind this Belgium club but we have little proof of that. What I am saying is despite Rich people being involved in sport and specifically football for ages they have never tried this model apart from that one exception until City came along and they have not taken it to the extent city have maybe thats down to a lack of money or vision or both not that they are poor of course.

    Clubs are not selling football services in the way that City will be doing either with regards to marketing scouting branding training its so far only been to as far as we are aware at least City Group clubs but there is talk of selling these services to smaller clubs and lesser Football Associations. The current big clubs really only sell this service to themselves and there players and every so often rich kids that want to act like footballer for a few weeks a year in the summer. This new model I believe could be the key to city making a fortune.

    Finally there is the Campus idea Barcelona have a great Academy it is in the shadow of there ground like ours we copied them but of the alot of the training ideas layout facility ideas came from other sports and Nike. making ours better than any other along with money of course. And rich club could have looked at whats going on in training other athletes they really have not compared to us.

    The campus is more than this however it will be a world class leisure facility No club has this Madrid have an island no doubt with the help of our owner though they might claim to have come up with leisure facility idea it first I doubt it.

    Island but they are building it in the UAE.

    Across Europe there are football clubs that have an element of the leisure facility idea thanks to state funding or because there routs are in other sports as well but they have not made it commercial in fact its usually drains them of funds Looks at Bayern for example. So we clearly win on the money front and the vision front this means we have first mover advantage

  36. Headline today:


    ‘Manchester City have been given the green light to embark on a £150 Million-Plus spending spree this summer to win back the premier league title.’

    I think you’ll find that’s BUY BACK.

    You 2 lads must be so proud.

  37. That’s because we were good boys and abided by the terms of the settlement agreement – you know, the one we negotiated with UEFA last year despite Tony quite bizarrely stating that we were blatantly ignoring UEFA. Our revenues are now so high that they comfortably allow for a £150 million spend while staying on the right side of FFP. If you want to call that buying success, that’s your prerogative – again, you’re rathe conveniently ignoring the success that Arsenal have bought in the past. Personally, I’d sooner buy success than buy failure which is what plenty of other clubs have done in the past as I’ve highlighted in my previous post.

  38. Jambug,

    I think we’re all debated out on this now. I’m not going to change your overall opinion on this any more than you’re going to get me to concede that what City are doing is some way wrong. I’ll happily concede that our owner’s wealth has given us a huge advantage but I’m not going to apologise for it because football has never been particularly fair – rich owners and not so rich owners have been a part of the game ever since it turned professional towards the end of the 19th century. I’m not sure what the “proud” comment was about. I’ve never been proud of a big money signing, but I’m buggered if I feel ashamed either. Excited would be more appropriate – I watch City in the hope of being entertained but having a good craic with my mates is in many ways equally important. I’ve had plenty of days out where the team has had a stinker but still had a good laugh. I actually find the pressure of challenging at the top end of the league harder to cope with than when we were in a relegation battle. Every game has the feel of being a “must-win” or a “must not lose”. It’s a different kind of pressure the camaraderie is still of paramount importance despite that.

  39. M18CTID

    Anyone spending the money City do WILL win the league.

    How do you even enjoy that?

    Please explain because I just don’t get it.

    It’s like sheergar running in a handicap with bottom weight.

    The race still has to be run, and of course nothing is certain, but really?

    AS you say, neither of us will change but I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t want what you have at any price.

    In my life, whatever I have, whatever I’ve achieved, I’ve grafted for.

    I have a great sense of achievement and yes, PRIDE in what I have achieved.

    That’s how I thought life worked. Fanciful maybe. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.

    I just must have different values to you. I’m not saying mine are right, but I wouldn’t want to change them and I hope I never do.

    I hope you enjoy your trophies.

  40. Jambug,

    Well I certainly enjoyed Aguero snatching the title with the last kick of the season in 2012. You can’t put a price on moments like that and millions of neutral fans enjoyed it too – do you think any City fan thought at that moment “Oh no, what are all those opposition fans who say we’re ruining football going to think about this?” Somehow, I doubt it very much.

    I’ll remind you that United spent a similar amount last season and they didn’t come close to winning the league. And like I said earlier, it’s our money and we can sustain such a spend this summer. If you had that much money to spend on players, would you sooner it didn’t get spent? In fact, you would have that much to spend if the people in charge of securing commercial deals/sponsorships at your club pulled their fingers out and looked to maximise revenues further. You’ve already missed out on tens of millions by under-selling the original Emirates deal so much.

    I enjoy reading some of your posts but your fake moralistic outrage over this is quite sad really. Like I say, Arsenal have got form for buying success too and skewing the opposition. You’re also the only the club in England to have gotten promoted to the top flight without earning the right on the pitch courtesy of your rather dodgy chairman at the time. Sometimes you need to look a bit closer to home before casting aspersions about others. No club is perfect. All clubs have baggage. But if you want to ignore all Arsenal’s misdemeanours and the times when you’ve bought success too so you can occupy some mythical moral high ground, then by all means do. It’s not too dissimilar to Wenger’s selective amnesia regarding his 7 years at Monaco in fact.

  41. Oh, I nearly forgot. Arsenal were also part of the self-serving cartel of clubs in the 1980’s known as the Big Five (United, Liverpool, Everton, and Spurs were the others) which carved up the TV rights in such a way that the lion’s share went to those clubs and the remaining scraps were divided out between the rest.

    You must be so proud of that.

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